Excellence to be accredited across border

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Early years organisations from Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic have joined forces to launch the All-Ireland Centre of Excellence Awards. The initiative by the Northern Ireland early years organisation NIPPA and the National Children's Day Nurseries Association (NCNA) in the republic is the first time that common standards have been developed for early years providers across Ireland.

Early years organisations from Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic have joined forces to launch the All-Ireland Centre of Excellence Awards.

The initiative by the Northern Ireland early years organisation NIPPA and the National Children's Day Nurseries Association (NCNA) in the republic is the first time that common standards have been developed for early years providers across Ireland.

The launch was attended by Irish minister for children Brian Lenihan and Maria Eagle, minister for children from the Northern Ireland Office.

The project is aimed at creating an accreditation programme for developing quality daycare. A centre of excellence self-evaluation profile document has been created so that providers can assess their own services.

NIPPA chief executive Siobhan Fitzpatrick said, 'We are delighted to be implementing these awards, which unify the island of Ireland.' NCNA director Catherine Bond described the launch as 'a momentous occasion' for childcarers across Ireland.

For more information visit www.nippaorg or www.ncna.net.

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